Follow The Water To Find Wild Boar

Follow The Water photo by: Lhgergo

Often I sign my posts “Follow the water”. It’s a phrase I use not just in pig hunting, but in a series of situations in the outdoors. It’s been so important, that it has actually saved my life, and that of my fellow Marines in my company.

Most commonly I follow the water to hunt wild boar, and finding where the boar are in the first place. When you start a scouting campaign before your hunt, realize that pigs need water something fierce, and looking elsewhere can be a waste of time. Pigs need water to cool down as they have no sweat glands to cool themselves. That is why they are most active at night when it is cooler, and the reason they wallow in the mud around water sources. This is a major weakness that a hunter can take advantage of. The skin on a pig is actually pretty thin, and without proper cover in bushes and other thick vegetation, they use the mud to cake their skin as sun protection, insect repellant, and to slow down the evaporation process to cool themselves.

“Follow The Water” is so important to pig hunting success that I would declare it as the secret to pig hunting.

How I find wild Pigs

1. Scour the internet for areas for wild pigs, asking around to other hunters, local forest rangers, land owners, and other locals.

2. Use the Google Earth app to get a bird’s-eye view of the area, notating water sources, access points, and surrounding landscape. Nothing fancy, it’s free.

3. I follow the water notations I made, and hike to that water source.

4. I follow that water source till I find tracks, wallows, rooting, and other sign.

5. Those tracks lead me to their trails, highway system, and bedding. 


Earlier I mentioned that following the water saved my life along with a company of Marines. Here is that story:

Back in 1996, we were training in Bridgeport, CA for the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare training. It was a week of hiking through pretty steep mountains, averaging 12-20 miles per day. Well, we had hiked off the path of a mountain to the top. Someone did not think about the logistics for this, and we ran out of water without much support. The area we were in was not accessible by vehicle, so we were essentially waiting for helicopter support to get re-supplied. The hiking was tough, and everyone was exhausted. 4 other Marines and I scouted the mountain and found an unusual green spot with tall vegetation. We followed this to a natural spring in the side of the mountain that was trickling out. We dug into this, and one of the Marines had an empty AT-4 missile tube that we jammed into the spring, creating a pipe where it was functional to fill everyone’s canteens. Now, I’m not sure if our commanding officers had a plan to fix our water situation, but I’d like to believe that mother nature, and us 4 Marines, helped save a company from dehydration, possibly saving lives that day.

So my friends, and fellow pig hunters, I wish you great success.

Follow the Water,


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2 Responses to Follow The Water To Find Wild Boar

  1. toomuchgun says:

    Good article.

    From what I have been able to glean from my own observations and remarks made by professional guides, it is probable that you will find most animals close to water, especially during the hot time of day. Pigs are no different.

    I’ve heard of serious hog hunters who will find hog sign and follow them during the day hoping to find them bedded down. Is this a good idea? Wouldn’t a careful ‘stake-out’ of a water hole, wallow or suchlike give one the chance to increase one’s odds? Yes I am all for “follow the water.”

    However, here is an anecdote. Please don’t attack me all at once. The caveat goes like this: It is said that a gentleman must never shoot over a watering hole” with of course the exception of hogs, coyotes are suchlike. Sort of never shoot a sitting duck.

    Recently, on one of the sports channels on TV I saw (unnamed to protect the guilty), a husband and wife team, manufactures of a well known bow company went to South Africa for a safari. The operator placed the couple in an adobe blind not more than 10 yards from the watering hole. They came in late afternoon and were in place just in time to see the game come in. There were everything from baboons, warthog, impala, zebra, eland, kudu and so on.

    These animals had to drink. One of the couple drew back on their bow, let fly (all ten yards, or closer) and bagged a kudu. High-fiving all round. Back at the lodge they recounted their “hunt.” It wasn’t hunting, it was killing.” Maybe some of you will disagree with me and I’ll take my licks.

    Don’t confuse this account from actual bow-hunters on a spot-and-stalk hunt, or shooting from a tree stand. All this, in my opinion is kosher. Which brings me back to hogs. They are pestilence and if not eradicated, their numbers should be greatly reduced. Ask any rancher.

    Yes on follow the water.

    • Greg The Boar Hunter says:

      Totally agree with you. I’m only saying that you start from the water source, and then start your hunt. The other thing to consider is that if you find a good wallow, you want to keep them coming back, and if you actually hunt over the wallow, you risk hogs never coming back. Feral Hogs are smart. You want to set up close to the water source, but never over it.

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